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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  May 24, 2012 6:00am-9:00am EDT

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>> therefore, if they repeat the allegations they made to the newspaper, presumably you will find out whether they are credible or not an report to us and to the public, as your investigation goes on.
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director sullivan, let me ask you, with respect to your own investigation thus far and the individuals alleged to have behaved improperly, where they asked whether they had engaged in similar conduct on other occasions? >> yes, sir they were. >> and what was there and to? >> their answer they had not. >> had not. just for the record, were they under oath when they were interrogated? >> i believe they all gave a signed oath to that but i will have to get back to you on that, i'm not sure if they were under oath. >> i appreciate that. they all were offered the opportunity to take a polygraph test, and it would be of interest to me whether, during the test they were also asked whether they've ever been been involved in similar behavior. >> yes, sir. we did use every investigative
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tool we have to include polygraph interviews, talking to other people, looking at records and thus far we've not found that this type of behavior was exhibited by any of these individuals before. >> where the secret service personnel questioned during your own investigation as to whether they considered their conduct acceptable for some reason? >> yes, sir. this is a question an awful lot of us have asked ourselves over the last month and a half, and i believe when many of these people were interviewed i don't think they could explain why they exhibited the behavior that they did. >> for instance, some people will try to explain and understand why such risky, really irresponsible behavior would be carried out by secret service agents on assignment, perhaps they were influenced by the fact prostitution was legal in colombia.
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i take it that that wouldn't matter so far as secret service is concerned because they would -- weather situation was legal or not, by their behavior would run the risk of compromising the security of the president of the united states, because who knows who they are with on those occasions? >> absolutely. there's no excuse for that type of behavior from a conduct perspective and from a national security perspective, though that type of behavior was just reckless. >> understood, okay. over the past five years based on our review of the disciplinary records that we have so far gone over that you were provided to the committee, in response to a question, there appear to have been five cases that are directly relevant to what happened in cárdenas and, therefore, potentially
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noteworthy. three allegations involving inappropriate or undocumented conduct with a foreign national. one allegation of contact with a prostitute and one allegation of non-consensual sex. director sullivan, are you aware of these cases? and if so, can you tell us what was involved and how the agency handled them? >> i believe so, sir. first of all any type of misconduct we take extremely seriously and we investigate it to the end to limit. the one i believe you're talking about with the nonconsensual sex was investigated by law enforcement, to after doing an intense investigation on that, decided not to go forward with any charges on that one. >> may i ask, if it's appropriate, whether the complaint was somebody within the secret service come a fellow
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employee, or someone outside speak with someone who is outside the organization, senator. the other three with the foreign national conduct, gannon all of those were investigated and the appropriate administrative action was taken on those three. >> did any of those, have characteristics similar to what happened in cartagena, that they were women or prostitutes that they picked up? >> no, nothing to do with prostitution. i believe these were, i believe all three may have been women. i believe these were women they had contact with, but nothing, nothing like this situation we are referring to know. >> were these long-term relationships, to the best of george tenet, or just people they met when they were on assignment in a foreign location? >> i think they might've been people at least on one of them, senator, someone they met and
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they continued with the conduct -- contact via e-mail. >> and finally, what about the one case that we've seen in the record of contact with a prostitute, which i gather a card right here in washington? >> yes, sir. back in 2008, an individual is involved with prostitution and was separated from our agency a month later. >> was that individual on duty at the time? >> yes, sir. >> and i take it this is not somebody he met during the course of his work, but he was caught in a sting, is that correct? >> yes, sir. as i understand it he solicited an undercover police officer. >> okay. we will continue to talk about those cases. thanks for being so responsive. my times out. senator collins. >> into mr. chairman. director sullivan, and -- thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> all of the secret service personnel involved with the possible exception of one agent who may have used another agents name, registered the women at the hotel's front desk using their real name and using the women's real names. is that accurate? >> yes, it is, senator. >> that fact major investigation easier in terms of tracking down the women, and it also seems to reinforce the claim that this kind of conduct has been tolerated in the past. in other words, it suggests to me that the agents were so unconcerned about being caught or about the impropriety of their actions that they didn't even seem to conceal it. what is your reaction?
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do you think the fact that they registered the women, they follow the rules of the hotel and registering the women, they use their real names, they used the women's real names suggest that they were not really worried about being caught? >> again, i would go back, i have tried to figure this out for a month and a half, for whatever possessed people to exhibit this type of behavior. again, i will tell you that i do not think this is indicative of the overwhelming majority of our men and women mentioned before, center. but i just think that between the alcohol, and i don't know, the environment, these individuals did some really dumb things. and i just can't explain why they would have done what they would do. but i will take that i don't believe they did because they believe this type of behavior would be tolerated.
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we have a zero-tolerance for this type of behavior, but i just, i cannot figure out why they did what they did. >> what troubles me about this is again, i'll go back to the fact that this was not a case where these 12 men, together, were out on the town in the same club bringing back women from that one source. they went out on the town in small groups, in some cases two or three, or individually, yet each one of them comes back to the hotel, makes no attempt to conceal the fact there bring foreign nationals into the hotel, actually registered them at the front desk. they don't try to conceal their actions in any way. and that suggests to me that they weren't worried about being
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caught. that they did not think there would be consequences if they were caught. otherwise, wouldn't you suspect they were trying to conceal their actions? >> when i was first comprised of the situation i was dumbfounded. and that's what, does she sing army was so easy to make, that people on an assignment protecting the president in a foreign country could have acted in this manner. it was a very easy decision for me to say we need to bring them back here. again, secretary, senator, i have no excuse for those actions. all i can say is that we acted quickly and brought them back and initiated our investigation. >> let me turn to another but related issue. when you discovered what had happened, you updated some of
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the training manuals. and in late april you said, you issued a directive that cleary said the laws of this country apply to secret service personnel well abroad. and i give you credit for issuing that to make it crystal clear, but wasn't it your guidance as i look through your adjudicated in guidelines, the ability -- classified information, isn't it already pretty clear in those guidelines that this kind of behavior would not be acceptable? >> senator, absolutely. we put these guidelines about. i've been accused of being draconian for us putting them out, maybe they are. again, i go back to the overwhelming majority of our men and women.
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i don't think the these guidelines but i don't think our men and women need these guidelines because we have men and women of character. we have men and women of integrity. but what i want to make sure it is even if there's one individual out there, just didn't get it, didn't understand, we wanted to make sure we reached these individuals. but you're absolutely right, there are adjudicative guidelines out there. people are aware of what those adjudicative guidelines are. we are a professional organization. we travel around the world. over the last six years we have done 37,000 trips around the world, and we have had no situation like this one before, and again, i'm confident this is not a cultural issue to this is not a systemic issue with us. we make decisions every single day. our employees make some really critical decisions that, again, the overwhelming majority at the time they make good decisions on. this particular trip we had some
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individuals who made very bad decisions. and that's what it's very important for us to have a strong office of professional responsibility and to have a good relationship with the inspector general. because windows individuals, which are minority, make bad decisions, when he had misconduct, misbehavior, we're going to act appropriately. >> i guess the point i was trying to make is as i read these guidelines, it specifically refers to engaging in any activity that is illegal in that country or that is legal in the country but illegal in the united states. so there's no doubt that officially this kind of behavior was already prohibited prior to your issuing a directive on april 27, correct? >> that's correct, senator. >> mr. edwards come in just the few seconds that i have left,
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are you conducting an independent investigation of what occurred in colombia? or are you simply reviewing the investigation that director sullivan and his staff are conducting? >> thank you, senator. i'm deeply troubled just as you are, and we are doing a comprehensive review, and what i mean we are reviewing the investigation that's done by secret service. at the same time we're also doing some independent interviews ourselves. we also want to talk to the people who are interviewing the personnel. we have done 23. we also sat in in about six of the interviews that were conducted. in order for us to get a comprehensive report, you know, i don't have the personnel to go into all 200 of them, but
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they're doing random semi-avid to make sure that our review and investigation is independent and transparent. >> think you. let me just say, mr. chairman, that i think it's critical that the ig to a completely independent review investigation, not just a review of the agency's investigation. thank you. >> thanks, senator collins but i agree with you. i know this for require a commitment of personnel by you, mr. edwards, but it's so important to get to the bottom of this event, to get to the truth of it so we can find out exactly what happened. the aim here is of course to restore confidence to the secret service, which most of those members obviously deserted by their work. so i agree with -- the members of our committee will be called in order of appearance, and in that regard, senator brown is next.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. director sullivan, thank you, mr. edwards, thank you for attempting. it to mr. sullivan, listening to your testimony you said you were not aware this had happened before, and that's evidenced by some of the investigation should done in your long history in the service, is that correct? >> yes, senator. >> and you're still can't figure it out. this is something you also said. is that correct? >> this type of behavior, yes, sir. >> and you're making changes it, changing policy, is that also correct? >> yes, sir. >> you have said many times a majority of the folks serving in the agency, and i would agree, the wonderful work. they had many nations. they serve with great pride and resourcefulness over the 100 i believe 47 years of service, is that also a fair statement? >> yes, senator. >> i know you set new guidelines
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and you indicated on your own come you said they were draconian. as a modified. you wait to do them but you feel it's necessary. i would ask, do you also trust the men and women now that are serving, not withstanding this individual incident? do you trust them and their sacrifice and service in the job they are doing right now? >> yes, sir. >> the reason i'm asking these questions is because i know there's potentially a new policy to send a supervisor for an office of professional responsibility, which indicated also is a member of the internal affairs division of the agency to go and basically babysit these agents when they are going overseas and doing their duties. so i'm a little bit confused as to why we would be sending a $155,000 person, another person to basically babysit people that you say this hasn't happened before. you change policy. you have made draconian changes come antitrust the men and women. yet we will be sending someone
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to oversee that they are, in fact, following the policies. i'm not quite sure how, number one from a makes financial sense, and number two, reestablish the so-called trust you have any agency. can you answer that? >> yes, sir. i was accused for being dracone for bring this up but we did feel it was important to get these out. as far as the gs 15 from the office of professional responsibility going out, he will have an assignment or she will have an assignment that, i've heard them referred to as a babysitter. they are not. they are there to be a working agent. however, one of the things we did find on this particular trip was that when we did have this situation we had to look at, the person we need to rely on was the special agent in charge of the miami field office who have done an outstanding job. and my preference would've been for her to continue to work on the upcoming, upcoming visit. we do need of supervision on these type of -- >> but you already have supervision. you have agents, get agents in
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charge of agents and other agents in charge of those. you already have a chain of command but it seems that you're going to insert an integral affairs person, you can call a babysitter, called somebody just overseeing what's happening. i'm just going on what your testimony, you said you may changes, you trust these people. this is an aberration but it's not something that happens. you have no knowledge and yet we're going to spend the time and effort, just in case something like this happens. i'm wondering if you think it's a little bit overkill? >> maybe i'm doing a bad job of explaining that but prior to this we have what would call we have what would call a jump team, a group of agents go out and called a joking. on this particular jump team we had 53 agents on the jump team. and this jump team was led by two gs for teams who are two of the individuals who were involved in this incident. what we have done now is we have replaced those two supervisors with two gs 15 supervisors.
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one gs 15 is going to come from the field more than likely will be gs 15 special agent in charge of the field office, and many other one will be a gs 15 for office of his possibility they're not there to be a babysitter. they're going to have an assignment but if you situation does come up, they will be there to resolve the situation. >> is this on every mission? >> foreign trip spent how many foreign trips do we conduct per your? >> i would have to give the numbers for the. >> approximately. is a 10? isn't 100? 200? 500? just an approximation. >> so far this year we have done about 200 trips or so, but this would become of this is only for a presidential visit or a vice presidential visit. >> and how many of those? >> i would have to get to the numbers. >> again, if you're restructuring, changing the entire structure, putting iraqi
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people, gs 14, gs-15 from basically they should be doing the job regardless of the gs level that they are at. changing and having someone there to oversee, an agency that you trust. i'm still not quite -- >> i do trust the people but where talk about protecting the president. adequate supervision is very important. and clearly on this particular trip, supervision was lacking. and if we have to put gs-15 is on this particular trip, and that's what we're going to do. we're going to see how it goes and if we believe we can go back to the way we had before, we will do that. but the one thing i want to make clear him of these people aren't there to babysit. and these gs-15's from our office of professional responsibility will be the individuals who will be giving an ethics briefing at the beginning of this trip and the code of conduct briefing. >> how often do they get the
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briefing? >> they get those throughout their career during training, and if there's an annual requirement -- >> how about polygraph and that sort of thing? every 10 years i understand? >> they get a polygraph at the beginning of their career when they come on, and then after that we do five your background updates. some of our individuals, depending on what type of position they hold from either internal or external to the organization, they get polygraphs throughout their career as well. >> every five or 10 years of? >> not all of our employees get polygraphs every five years spent how about these particular individuals who would've been doing the job that they were doing? how often would they get a polygraph? >> unless they were in a specialist position where that was required they would not have gotten a polygraph once they got their initial polygraph. >> so could've in 10 or 20 years for some of these people? >> yes, sir. >> do you think maybe we should review that policy?
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>> that's part of what we're looking at now. >> okay. did you think we would have found out about this if we didn't have an argument regarding price because i do think we would have, i do spent how do you think -- >> i think somebody on this jump team would have reported that. >> if effectively the "washington post" article, this is something that's been happening for quite a while. and yet you have never heard of it. we're getting two different story so i would hope that in your investigation we can kind find out what the truth is and deal with the bad apples are the people are not even to the policy and deal with it accordingly. i agree with you, mr. sullivan. i think there are amazing men and women serving in our secret service. and taking a vote for the president is the ultimate form of sacrifice and agent could make in protecting our president and vice president is the most important thing that any individual in our government can
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do, quite honestly. and they know there is some fine without the. unfortunately, i agree with the chairman, the image is staying and that's why also appreciate your adventures before us and your efforts to be open and forthright. and i thank you for holding this, mr. chairman spent i would like to respond back to the "washington post" article. that reference numerous anonymous sources. you mentioned earlier, sir, you talk about waste and mismanagement. there was an allegation at the beginning of this about misconduct in el salvador. and a lot of people took that and ran with it because it was reported on the news. and i took that allegation very, very seriously, and i sent our office of professional responsibility down to our cartagena are almost a week. and i spent thousands of dollars -- >> union el salvador, don't you? >> el salvador, sir.
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we spent thousands of dollars to send those people down there. and we interviewed 28-30 people. we went to hotels and we talked to every hotel manager. we talked to every security director for those hotels. we talked to seven or eight of the contract drivers who are agents used. we talked to the police chief. we talked to the owner of a nightclub where this incident was to have alleged to have occurred. we were unable to prove any of these allegations. we spoke to the rso who conducted its own investigation down there. so all i would say is, if there is information out there, you know, when you read about it in the paper from an anonymous source, it's very difficult for us to investigate that type of an allegation. all i would say is we, again, we would like to know when, where, why, and names of people, who are these people that were condoning it. and i will just tell you that is not the organization i know that we would condone such behavior.
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>> thanks, director. senator johnson come your next. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and director sullivan and inspector general edwards, thanks for testifying here. i mean, i agree first of all your i've great respect for the service. this is an incredible is that episode and is hitting is all about how do you restore credibility. i'm also sad to say i agree with senator collins that it's just, based on the facts of this case, it's hard to believe this is just a one time occurrence. i wish i could believe that, but it's just hard to believe. i've got a couple of questions. let's go back to the polygraphs that senator brown was asking about. i think i heard you earlier say that polygraphs were offered to these agents, was that not a requirement? >> sir, i believe we ended up doing about 14 or 15 polygraphs. >> but again, was it not a requirement speak with they have
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the option to refuse a polygraph. >> what kind of constraints did you find in your investigation? what constraints are there to try to get the facts based on, just worker protections because going back to the polygraph, the fact of the polygraph, the polygraphs help a couple people keep their jobs, and those particular individuals who refused to take the polygraph, we were able to come up with other information that refuted what they were saying. so for us not giving a polygraph didn't really impact the way this investigation was conducted because we were able to prove the allegation without using the polygraph. >> again, as we talked in a closed-door briefing, my concern is that additional information start coming out, other stories come out a month after month after month. we need to get this behind us. i would imagine you the exact
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same concern. in your investigation what are you doing to make sure that we don't hear of another instance of month or two or three months out? specifically, what are you doing to assure that doesn't occur? other than your belief you have faith in your agents. >> again, part of it is, sir, we put together this professionalism reinforcement working group with director berry and director patrick. the inspector general is going to be taking a look at our investigation. last year in a governmentwide viewpoint survey when asked about if you would report an incident of unethical behavior i believe nearly 60% of our employees responded that they would report it. we want to improve that number until it's 100%. we want to encourage our employees if they see unethical behavior or misconduct we want that to be reported to us. >> 40% is a for a high percentage that would report. i guess that's my concern.
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when you hear the story of what's done on the road stays on the road, my guess is within sequencers there's a pretty high level of, possible code of silence. so barring utilization of polygraphs that are required, how do you really get to the bottom of this? >> sir, i go back to leadership and the leadership that we have on these trips, the leaderships we have in our organization, and torture people and make sure that people know there isn't going to be retribution or that there isn't going to be any negative impact for them to report this type of behavior. >> but you had leadership on the strips and these things occur, so again, how do we get to the bottom of the? is there some mechanism we can require polygraphs? i would hate to say that the seven thousands of this service, to get this episode behind us. >> one of the things we looked at is we need to increase the use of polygraph. we have a very aggressive and very good polygraph program but
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all of our agents are polygraph when you first come on the job. we year updates for every single employee that we have. every employee we have maintained a top security clearance, but we are taking a look at for the use of polygraph. >> what questions specifically to these types of episodes would be asked any polygraph test? >> i think that something would have to take a look at, two different polygraphs we're talking about here, civic. the national security polygraph and in the character issue polygraph. and for each one, it would be two or three relevant questions that we would be looking to ask the employees spent so and the polygraphs, the word of voluntary was a more general question asked or were only questions as related to this specific episode? in other words, did you ask those individuals who are polygraph to, have you ever participate in this type of behavior in the past?
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>> that type of question i believe was asked in the preakness, but again i would have to get you the exact patch that i would happy to get you the exact questions that were asked. >> i would like to know whether that question was asked on whether the question was also asked under oath, not only under oath but also in the polygraph, are you aware of any other type of behavior by somebody else in the service. >> will have to get that for you. >> those are the type of questions that really do need to be asked almost universally to get to the bottom of this. in terms of taking disciplinary action, up to and including discharge, do you feel constrained in your employment policies of actually being able to take the necessary steps? >> no, sir. you know, we did, i believe we did a very swift and comprehensive investigation, and we took the appropriate action when without the web enough information to take that action.
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we also want to make sure that we protect the rights of, not only in this type of investigation for any investigation we do when it comes to an employee, we want to make sure we protect, you know, the rights that they have. we want to make sure that whatever decision we make is going to be the right one, and it's one that can't be refuted. >> we've had a number of agents retire but now are trying to get back into the service. are they challenging the dismissal? what is the status on the? >> right now, you know, our numbers contradict what was in the "washington post" article. we have two employees who had originally said they're going to resign that have now come back, and said that they're going to challenge that. they are looking to challenge that they're going to resign, and so now we will look to revoke their security clearance. >> i basically out of time.
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thank you, mr. chairman. thank you. >> thanks, senator johnson. senator portman? >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, senator collins, for holding the hearing. and more important for being on top of the situation from the start. i know that you share the concern of our colleagues to make sure this is fully investigated and necessary forms are put in place. thank you, mr. director, and to the acting i.t. for being here, for your testimony. and director sullivan, thanks for 29 years of service. and for your willingness to take swift action and also to be transparent as the acting ig said with him. and to be honest with us on the hill as we as questions over these past few weeks. as is the case with the chairman, i'm a former protectee and i was in cabinet level role,
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as u.s. trade representative on a number of foreign trips where i had secret service protection. and earlier, director sullivan can you talk about the five core values of the service, justice, duty, courage, loyalty, honesty. and i will say that my experience is that the men and women who protect me amplified those. and it's precisely because of my high regard for the character and professionalism of those men and women, and for the importance of the service, and really its central role in the continuity of our very governmental system that i'm so concerned about what's happened and so deeply troubled. by the incidents that is the subject of this hearing today. we all have a role to fully investigate this as a result, and we all have a role to make sure that this kind of risky and unprofessional behavior does not occur again by putting in place new protocols to try to restore
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the trust and confidence of the american people. so my questions are really about going forward, what do we do. again, i think he took some appropriate swift actions to i think was appropriate to remove the sixth service personnel from colombia, as you did immediately. i think that some of the immediate actions you've taken with regard to this incident are appropriate. i have to agree with my colleagues that it may not be an isolated incident, given the fact that there were supervisors involve, among other aspects of this. and so i would like to talk about what should be done any future. i have been interested in a discussion today about the guidelines that are currently in place, and it's my view that either because they are specifically written or because they are understood, it's not as if there were not adequate guidelines. i will read you from a couple of your guidelines. one is the code of conduct which
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says that the employer shall not engage in a notoriously disgrace of conduct or other conduct against the government, also specify the absence of a specific published in of conduct covering an act does not mean such an act is condemned to so even though it's not specific identified in terms of what happened in card and got it would fall in this general category. also, under your rules of conduct with regard to secure pledges come it says contact with a foreign national from it that contact -- or coercion, is inappropriate to the guidelines also work as conduct especially traveling outside message which may make the individual vulnerable to coercion by a foreign person, group or contradicts what seems to me, you can write all the guidelines you want, if the culture doesn't reinforce, again, the five core
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values we talked about and integrity, professionalism i saw in my time with the secret service it will not be successful. so we talked a little about the professional reinforce the working group. it seems like that's a good step forward. what else would you recommend, director sullivan, and i.g. edwards, in terms of looking forward to ensure that this kind of incident never happens again? >> thank you, senator. again, as far as going forward one of the things we did do, we didn't just look back was. our discipline over the last five and a half years, and when i look at that, it's under 1% of our population is involved in some type of disciplinary action, and that just gives me reason to believe that this isn't part of the culture. and part of this organization for 29 years and never seen anything like this before my
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life. i just, i just believe, extremely very strongly that this is just not part of our culture. spent how many personnel do you have? >> close to 7000. >> and on this jump team there were 53 individuals, but how many u.s. secret service personnel were on the cartagena tripped? >> we had about 200 people on the trip. at the time of the situation we had about 175 people who were in cartagena spent and how many foreign trips has the secret service been involved with question talk about over 200 this year alone. >> yes, sir. and we have done, over the past seven years, we've done about 2700 since 2008. >> foreign trips of? >> yes, sir. >> and this kind of incident has not been reported before? >> no, sir. no, sir. but again, moving toward i do think that they professionalism reinforce the working group, we
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are going to look at various areas with that. we have broken it up into three different areas. there's going to be a subcommittee on workforce management and we're going to take a look at how we hire, our performance management, accountability, disciplined and a security cleared process. we're also going to take a look at our operational environment and have a subcommittee look at our traditions, look at our operations, compare ourselves to other law enforcement and to the military organizations, take a look at the role of our high standards and that there's no margin of error within our culture. and look at our workforce programs, look at our am huntsman program, look at our employee assistance program, look at our national will to look at our ethics communication training and professional development. but we do want to ensure that the men and women of this organization aren't just better, but the best.
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and that is the goal of this committee. >> thank you. my time has expired but i appreciate your 29 years of distinguished service, and mr. edwards, appreciate the work you have worked with the secret service. i know you have a lot of other responsibility including other law enforcement responsibility i'm sure the best practice there is helpful as the trucker said in part of this review. thank you for your testimony today. >> senator portman, thank you. senator carper. >> thank you. thank you very much. those of us who serve in the senate our privilege to serve with very black. used chief chaplain formally for the navy marine corps come and as a chaplain for the u.s. senate. he oftentimes encourages those of us are privileged to serve your to ask for wisdom, and whatever our faith might be.
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and so we tried to do that. in different ways. as i think about this income in preparing for this hearing i actually took a humanist to go back and read a passage, famous passage from one of most famous passages from the book of john, one that i think most people recall were a woman had been accused of adultery. and she is being surrounded by a group of men. the man involved in sultry was nowhere to be seen. she was surrounded by a group of men who held stones in their hands. and jesus was close by, and the pharisee said, jesus said look, what do you think should happen to this woman? and he was bending down, writing step in the dirt and just kind if ignore the but after a while they said jesus, we're talking to you. what do you think we should should happen to this woman? the laws of moses said she should be stoned after life
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taken away from her because of her since. jesus kept writing in the dirt. all he said, he said let those of you who are without sin cast the first stone. that's all he said. and one by one the men holding the stones from oldest to youngest dropped their stones and walked away. and the woman was left there stand in the middle of this kind of circle, and the only person still there was jesus. and she said to him, actually he said to her woman, where are your accusers? she said, they have gone away. and he said to her, your accusers have gone, and i'm not going to accuse you either. but then he added, go and sin no
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more. go and sin no more. nobody here is going to lose their life because of what they did down in colombia. they lost their jobs. they have lost their reputation. they harm to the reputation of a wonderful agency. how many men and women serve in the secret service today, roughly, how many? >> senator, just under 7000 spent and if you go back in time, any idea how make tens of thousands might have served in the secret service? >> tens of thousands but i do have the exact number, but a lot of people have come before us. we built this organization upon. >> one indiscretion has been reported in colombia. one indiscretion is one too many. 11 or 12 are 11 or 12 too many.
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and the folks have done these things haven't just ruined their careers. they have helped to spoil the reputation of tens of thousands of people who serve in the secret service. none of us, having said that, none of it without sin. a key for us is to figure out what went wrong, to make sure that those have misbehaved are punished, and to make sure that we put in place a policy, the safeguards to ensure that this kind of thing doesn't happen again. are you convinced, mr. edwards, that that's what we have done? >> can you repeat your question again, sir? >> the role here for us, and i think for you, certainly for mr. sullivan, is to ensure that we have found out the facts,
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provided appropriate punishment for those who misbehave, and to put in place the policies and safeguards to ensure that this kind of thing doesn't happen again. are you satisfied that progress, the steps have been taken to meet that test? >> absolutely sir. make sure we do a complete review and provide recommendations, and to make sure that this never happens again spent what furthermore needs to be done and what is the appropriate role for congress? >> i owe it to the secretary, and to congress, for me to do an independent review and to be transparent and recommendations from report to you. what else can be done? i'm still in the process of doing my reviews i don't have any findings yet. >> mr. sullivan, would you just respond to those questions as well, please? >> yes, sir. sir, we can't ignore what happened in cartagena but again i go back to the overwhelming men and women in this organization who do an outstanding job every single
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day. and michael right now is to make sure that they know that we have confidence in them and we believe in them and that we know that this is not indicative of their character. and what i would ask is that we continue to get your support, and i appreciate the complementary things you have said about our men and women today. we have a very challenging year that we're in the middle of right now, you know, as i mentioned to you. we just finished up the nato summit and the g8. but i would ask for your continued support. i would ask for you to continue to believe in what this organization is all about, and i would ask that you just continue to believe in us and know that we will do everything we can to make sure that we rebuild our reputation and do the right thing for the people that we protect and serve. >> just close to you mentioned do the right thing to some of the best kind i ever received in my life was to be got the right
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thing to do, just do it. not easy thing, not the expedient thing. and to do the right thing. i would just urge you, mr. edwards in your capacity, to make sure that you do the right thing. the other thing i would say, all of us make mistakes. god knows i have. i'm sure my colleagues have as well. we will make others in the future. having said that, some of the best advice i ever got was actually from my father. actually talking about my work and life. he said if it is imperfect just make a better. everything i know i do i can do better. and i think that's true of behavior of all of us, and those in the secret service to if it isn't perfect, make a better. that should be our goal. >> thank you, senator carper. we will do a second round in so far as members have additional questions. would either of you are both of you like to take a five minute break? are you okay to go forward speak
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as we are fine, senator. >> thanks. inspector general, let me just ask you, if you haven't said already, maybe i missed it. generally speaking, what kind of time schedule are you putting pressure i know there are deadlines are, but you three parts. am i correct to say that your first focus is going to be the review insofar as possible independent investigation of what happened in cartagena? >> yes, sir. the first part i need to take a look at the investigation, how it was done. the scope and methodology. and look at it. and after, listening to you and senator collins, for me to go back and redo all of the 200. i wished i was planning on getting this done by july 2. but i'm going to go back and revisit that because i truly want to try to come up with an independent investigation on the first part. and the second part is looking at the culture.
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>> right. >> this misbehavior or risky behavior of what is the cause for the. what was the type of corrective action that was taken. what kind of vetting process and ethics training that was offered. so, you know, come to get an idea of the. so i need to do a comprehensive inspection on that and i plan to have that done by fall. >> so at this point, is it fair to say if you do the kind of independent investigation of cartagena that we're talking about, you are serving come proper not going to be able to do early july, but hopefully you'll have a by the end of the summer sometime? when not holding you, but that is that the go? >> i'm going to put all my additional resources and to make sure this is a top priority to get this done. >> thank you. mr. edwards, in response to the questions that our committee sent you, you indicated that you
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can in the ig case files a record of an incident 10 years ago actually where more than, approximately five secret service agents were disciplined for partying, and here i'm quoting, partying with alcohol with underage females in the hotel rooms while on assignment at the 2002 olympics. and, of course, this is of significance as we try to determine whether there was prior evidence of the kind of conduct that occurred at cartagena. do you know at this point whether this is a credible report? >> thank you, sir. we received a hotline complaint april 20. this was referring to the february 2002 winter olympics in salt lake city where there were five secret service agents that
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were sent home after police responded and found in parting with our golf with underage females in hotel rooms. while on assignment. this was investigated by secret service at that time, and i think the outcome of that, you know, many of them have left the agency now, but since we received a hotline complaint i have an obligation to look into it. so we are looking into it. >> okay. this is important. this actually came and relatively recently over the hotline that you maintain which is an internet hotline? >> yes, sir. >> you might want to mention that what the address is, do you know offhand? >> it is www.dhs.gov/outline spent okay. so you're beginning to investigate. do you have awareness that incident? >> yes, sir.
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as far as i know there were three individuals who were involved in that particular incident. i believe that those individuals were gone within like very short period of that incident. again, i go back to the fact that does not represent the oval and matured of our people, but like any allegation that comes to our attention, we're going to investigated and we're going to take the appropriate disciplinary action. >> it leads me to ask this question. i assume from everything you have said that the seriousness of that behavior is not affected by the fact that it occurred within the united states as opposed to outside in colombia him and it occurred presumably with young women who were not prostitutes. that the behavior was unacceptable for a secret service personnel. >> again, as i understand the allegation, it was under age to individuals. and that would bring in to
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account the seriousness of the allegation. >> in fact, in utah it was a crime. i'm not asking you to opine on that. >> center, i have a look at the case. i would be more than happy to but again, we will cooperate fully with the ig. >> the previous case and the 2000 olympics site, just to clarify, we are focused on these matters, unfortunately, because of what happened in cartagena, colombia, outside the united states. am i correct in presuming that the secret service would be just as concerned if you found that agents on assignment, somewhere here in the united states were bringing back, they were not foreign nationals, but they just met somewhere to the rooms while on assignment in protecting somebody? >> yes, sir. i think anything that's going to
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compromise our mission we will be concerned with. and if we receive an allocation of that, we are going to investigate that. we want our people to live up to the standards of our organization. these women were under the age of 21, not under the age of 18. i'm not sure what the age was out there, but again i will be more than happy to get the particulars for you but what i do know is that those employees were gone pretty quick spent okay. but just to make the point, the concern that we have expressed, senator collins quite explicitly and well i think, that what we're worried about, what you are worried about is that an agent with the responsibility protect the president, vice president could be compromised by being involved in a casual sexual relationship while on assignment on the road. so ultimately it doesn't matter whether it happens in cartagena, colombia, or chicago, illinois,
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troop? >> that's correct, sir. spent okay. let me come to a final point. senator portman read from the carter condit for the secret service. and the general rules are governmentwide if it will for anybody security clearance, and they are really quite explicit about what is expected, the security clearance rules question gets conduct with a foreign national quote if that contact creates a heightened risk, for an explication in addition, manipulation, pressure or coercion. the guidelines also again against condit was having outside the that which may make the individual vulnerable to exploitation, pressure or coercion by a foreign person, group, government or country, et cetera. and really high standard. so my question is, what becomes
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of these guidelines secret service own code of conduct and the rules for people have security clearance? in other words, were the agents come including those involved in this misconduct in cartagena, were they required to study these kinds? where they given training sessions in them? in other words, anybody in their right mind is a secret service if they face would've known what they're doing in cartagena that night was just outrageously unacceptable and irresponsible. but assume for a moment they were not in the right mike, do you think they were adequate on notice that this behavior of these rules of conduct, that this behavior was unacceptable? >> senator, i do. we're talking about two different issues to get codes of conduct and then you have the
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security clearance issue. i'll talk about code of conduct first. code of conduct with a starts from the recruitment process. from the very beginning when we hire somebody to come workforce, the first thing we talk to them about his character and integrity. that that's part of our background investigation, that's part of the conversation that we have with the employ. that's part of our polygraph. it goes right to the initial training. their first thing on the job. their orientation. we talk about our codes of conduct. that is reinforced when they go through the federal law enforcement training center. it's reinforced again when they go to our training facility in maryland. about a week or two before the agent or officer's graduation, you know, i have myself at the deputy director to meet with each class for about an hour and after the first thing we talk with his character and we tell these individuals that the thing
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that separates them from the others was their character and their integrity. when they go back into their field office they have to annually certify that they have read our code of conduct, that they understand our code of conduct, and that is done with their supervisor. and in between as they go through the organization through various training classic and with a supervisor 10 class or server string class, or when they get into upper management we continue to talk about code of conduct. as far as the security click issues, as you know, we have an adjudicative guidelines where this is all spelled out there as a matter fact, on the passport we travel on, you know, it's indicated on the passport that you will abide by the rules and regulations of the organization and of the united states. so, senator, i do believe that it's pretty clear. i think anybody in our
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organization, it's a commonsense thing to me, and a moral thing to me that people understand what the expectation is. spent okay. i thank you for that edge. i hope you will take a fresh look at it. notwithstanding of what you said that you are drooling all these values that are important to the secret service that are on paper that you've updated since cartagena in a constructive way. so that, you know, the next time a secret service agent, or group of them, decide to, think about doing something like they did in cartagena.net, the light will go off in their heads and they will conclude the risk is too high. probably in the short run, the memory of cartagena and the dishonor brought on the agents there will be so fresh that this won't happen. but human nature being over -- being what it is are prepared of time can we need to have rules and procedures for drooling those rules into personnel that
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go on for a much longer period of time, to a time for what happened in carnahan may not be as fresh in the minds of future secret service agent. my time as well. senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director sullivan, originally, or initially i should say, you did not have information about these women. initially, you didn't know whether they were prostitutes or foreign agents or members of a terrorist group or working for a drug cartel, is that correct? >> that's correct, senator. >> so was there a sweep done of the hotel rooms to see whether the women involved had planted any electronic surveillance equipment? >> senator, one of the things we don't all of our people on a
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foreign trip is that you should always expect the potentially there could be some type, never trust that your room is safe. we did not come we didn't do any type of a sweep on any of these rooms that were used by these agents and officers. >> there was no sweep. i would understand that there was no sweep before the incident, but when you first learned of the incident, was there any order given to do a sweep of the rooms that the women had been in? >> other than a visual sweep, there was no type of electronic sweep that was made. there was a visual sweep. but as far as any type of electronic sweep, senator, there was not. ..
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>> we provided those names and identifiers to some of our various partners out there who could verify for us if there was any connection with any type of criminal activity or criminal organization as well as any type of intelligence concerns that we may have. all of the information that we've received back this is concluded -- has concluded there was of no connection either from an intelligence perspective or a criminal perspective. we've also been able to interview, i believe, all but two women. we've interviewed, i think we've interviewed nine or ten of the women working with the local police in colombia. and, again, that from all appearances in those interviews has backed up the information that we've been able to derive
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from these checks we've done. >> it's somewhat ironic that we can be relieved that the women for the most part were simply prostitutes, that's a rather strange thing for us to take comfort in in this case. but, obviously, it would have been more troubling if they were foreign agents or associated with drug cartels or other criminal gangs. >> senator, again, our investigation has pretty much confirmed that these women did not know who these individuals were, were not aware that they worked for the secret service. >> i want to return to an exchange that you had with senator johnson. i believe during that exchange you referred to a government-wide survey that asks certain federal employees
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whether they would report ethical misconduct. did i understand correctly that you said that 60% of the secret service personnel who were interviewed for this survey said that they would report ethical misconduct and 40% approximately said they would not? >> you know, senator, i think it was something like 58 or 60% said they would. i think there was 58 -- i think there was about 18 or 19% who said they wouldn't, and then i think the remaining percentage who just were indifferent towards it. >> doesn't that suggest a broader problem? >> senator, i think that's a number that we need to raise up. i think that that is something we need to work on. i don't know that that presents a problem, i just, i want to look at that. that's part of the theme that i've talked to director berry from opm about because i would like to see that number
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increase. >> from my perspective when you combine the facts of this case, the fact that the agents made no attempt to conceal their identities or the fact that they were bringing these women back to their hotel rooms, a survey in which fewer than 60% of the secret service personnel said that they would report ethical misconduct, the fact that this wasn't -- as i said in my opening statement -- a group of individuals who just got swept up into a situation but, rather, smaller groups who engaged in the same kinds of misconduct. to me, that just spells a broader problem with cultural in the agency. and i say that with the greatest
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respect for the vast majority of people working for the secret service who do extraordinary work and so courageously. but that doesn't mean that there isn't a problem. so by final question to you today is if i finally become successful in convincing you that there is a broader problem here with culture or with unacceptable behavior being condoned when agents are on the road, what actions would you take to address this problem that you are not taking now? how would you change the culture of an agency? >> you know, senator, i'm hoping i can convince you that it isn't a cultural issue. >> i know, but -- >> again, senator, i look at the, i look at the number of cases, you know, one of the things i know as the director is
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that i am going to have, you know, on any given day i potentially am going to have an employee who's going to get into some type of an incident. it might be a serious one, it might not be a big one at all. but, again, i just keep going back to under 1% of our investigations have some type of misconduct. but that is why i do feel very optimistic about this professionalism reinforcement working group. you know, we have over 45 senior executives throughout the federal government from the military, from other law enforcement, from nonlaw enforcement who i really, i do want to be very open with them, i want to be transparent, and i want them to take a hard look at us. but, again, it's my opinion that the overwhelming majority of the men and women of this organization are part of a great culture. i think the thing that makes our organization what it is is our culture. i think we have a culture of hard working people that are
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committed, that work hard every single day. and, you know, when i was out at the nato summit out in chicago, senator, i must have talked to a couple hundred agents out there, and i can tell you there's nobody who's more disappointed by this behavior, who's more upset with this behavior than our men and women. but i just, i have 100% confidence in our men and women, and i just do not think that this is something that is systemic within this organization. >> are there any additional actions that you would be taking if you felt that there was a systemic problem in -- problem? >> well, again, i think that we'd have to -- training. i think training is a big thing. and i think you can never do enough training. and training is something that we try to be very proactive with. but i think we just need to continually, you know, drill into our people, you know, what the, you know, what the result
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is going to be of a bad decision and, quite frankly, senator, i do think that the action we've taken for these bad decisions, i think that sends a pretty strong message to the men and women of this organization that, you know, this won't be tolerated. >> i know i promised you that was my last question, but i do have just one final question. you stated earlier that you feel that this incident in colombia would have become public even if there had not been the dispute over money. what's your basis for feeling that the incident would have become public, particularly in light of this survey? >> ma'am, i just, you know, we had almost 200 people there. and it just goes back to how confident i am of the men and women in our organization. we're talking about a pretty significant event here.
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we're talking about 11 individuals, now 12 individuals who took part many this misconduct, and i just believe, and i have a lot of faith in our men and women that somebody would have reported this misconduct because this just goes beyond the pale. and i truly do believe they would have made a complaint either to our office or professional responsibility or to the dhs ig. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, senator collins. so i understand, if i can put it this way, both your own faith in the secret service and -- which is the result of your own experience. i know you've been an extraordinary secret service agent and leader yourself. but to some extent i want to suggest, well, you know that what happened in cartagena happened. you don't have to believe the suspicions that most others have that it's hard to believe that this was the only case. but to some extent i think while
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you maintain your faith in the secret service, going forward i think you have to assume that it wasn't the only case. and to try to put in place exactly what i believe you're trying to do, rules and procedures to make sure to the best of your human ability that it never happens again. and i was thinking about, you know, a slogan that we talk about a lot in the field of domestic counterterrorism which started in new york, see something, say something. and this is not easy. those numbers that you mentioned, senator collins pointed to, about a little less than 60% saiding they'd definitely report or misconduct by a fellow secret service employee, there's a that muchal tendency in organizations either
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not to want to get your colleagues in trouble or, in a sense, to not want to get yourself involved in a controversy. but in the end as we saw here, what suffers is the great organization. and i just hope all the personnel of the secret service have learned that and that you will try to put in place rules and procedures that will, um, continue to telegraph that message for years and years after you leave the agency and a lot of others do. i mean, senator portman mentioned i was a protectee during the 2000 national campaign. i had nothing but the highest regard -- and really gratitude gratitude -- for the secret service details that were with me and my family. they were people of great honor,
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discipline. they were so obviously committed the to protecting our safety and security. and so like you, i think, when this story came out, i was just heartbroken. and then i was angry at the people who did this. and i think we've got to preserve those feelings and not be at all defensive here because this is like a wound to a body, and we've got to get in it, find out what happened, clean it out and then let it heal. and then make sure that you particularly put in place rules and procedures that'll make sure that this great body, if i can continue the metaphor, will never be subject to being wounded again in this way. i appreciate very much the presence and the testimony of both of you. i appreciate what you've done, both of you, since this incident
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became public. the committee's going to continue to conduct it own investigation and work with both of you to make sure that we achieve the objectives that i know we all have which is to restore total public trust and confidence in the secret service agency so that it can fulfill its critical missions at the highest levels of honor and excellence which it, which has been the norm over its history, and we want it to be the norm in the years ahead. senator collins, would you like to add anything? >> thank you, mr. chairman. director sullivan, in reflecting on the many conversations that we've had and listening to you today, i cannot help but think that because you personally are such an outstanding individual,
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completely ethical, dedicated, courageous, everything we'd want the head of the secret service to be, and because in your career you did not happen to see this kind of behavior that it's very difficult for you to accept that this happened. and i urge you to try to to put that aside because if there is a problem, if post story today is correct, you cannot be confident that this has not happened before and that it will not happen again unless a very clear message has sent that the rules are not different when agents are on the road. they're exactly the same rules that apply in their hometowns.
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and i think that's a very important message for you to send rardless of your sense of disbelief that this -- regardless of your sense of disbelief that this could have happened. and i just wanted to close my remarks today by thanking the brave men and women of the secret service, of law enforcement and of the military who to put their lives on the line for us. and who do perform such dangerous jobs so extraordinarily well in the vast majority of cases. but if we ignore or down play what happened here, it can be like a cancer. it can spread and cause the entire agency the to continue to
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lose its -- to be tarnished, if you will. so i hope that you will continue not only your no-holds-barred investigation and the disciplinary actions which are so clearly warranted in this case, but that you'll also take a really hard look at what procedural changes and training changes need to be made. because i continue to believe that the problem is broader than you believe it to be. but i thank you for your leadership and your cooperation. >> thanks, senate collins. director, do you want to add something? >> chairman, senator, and, again, thank you very much for your time. and i just want to make sure that -- i don't want you to give, i don't want to give you the impression, i hope i haven't given you the impression that this is something that we have not taken seriously or that i'm going to ignore. i mean, this can't be ignored. and, hopefully, you know,
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everyone has seen with the action that we've taken that we
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. >> chairman, i want to give you my commitment that we're going to do a comprehensive review and an independent investigation and report back to you on the findings and recommendations as soon as possible. earlier i did not give you the right web site for our hotline. it's oig.dhs.gov. and we have an 800 number, both anonymous and people with the names can submit their allegations on any issues, and we will respond accordingly. thank you, sir. >> excellent. thank you. the record of this hearing will remain open for 15 days for any additional questions and statements w. that, again, i thank you. the hearing is adjourned. >> thank you.
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> pretty recent -- came to light pretty recently over their hotline. so mr. edwards said that it was five, that's what we had heard. the director said from his recollection there were three. we'll pursue that and find out how many. but they were clearly all separated from the secret service. >> [inaudible] reports of "the washington post," was there -- [inaudible] >> pardon? >> [inaudible] >> well, it doesn't. and, again, i always have to stress, these were anonymous. but there were multiple sources, and the problem here, of course, is that it, the story in the post today encourages the belief that a lot of people, including
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us, have that this was not just an isolated incident, but all of a sudden one day in cartagena, colombia, 11, 12, 13 agents decided -- incidentally, not to go to one place together, but to go to four different places. makes you believe either this group had been doing it a lot or that it was an accepted pattern of misconduct. so this story requires the response that director sullivan gave, but really much more -- that's why i'm particularly glad that the inspector general said today he's going to interview all these agents. in fact, he's interviewing two this afternoon and will conduct really, now, an independent investigation. in the end, we've got to get the truth out about what happened in cartagena, and the greatest beneficiary of that will ultimately be the secret service. >> can you address the apart disconnect? -- apparent disconnect? do you think director sullivan gets it?
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>> i think that the director's a very fine individual who's very proud of his own career, understandably so, and of the agent i that he heads -- agency that he heads. therefore, i think he has a difficult time coming to grips with the fact that he has a broader problem than this one incident. >> and do you think he should stay in the job given the disconnect? >> i do. i have seen no evidence at all to suggest that he isn't pursuing every allegation that comes to his attention. but i am going to keep pressuring him to take a look at this from a broader perspective. i -- the only answer of his that disturbed me today was that he kept saying over and over again that he basically does think this is an isolated incident,
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and i don't think he has any basis for that conclusion. >> yeah, i agree. and as i said at one point toward the end, i know that's what he believes, that what happened in cartagena was an isolated incident. but for the good of the secret service as he decides how to change the rules and procedures of the secret service, he's got to assume that what happened in cartagena was not an isolated incident -- >> do you think that will effect the parameter of the investigation? >> i do. i don't see any reason at this point to ask director sullivan to leaf the position. -- leave the position be. >> [inaudible] the parameters of the investigation? >> i hope not, but we're going to stay on it and, again, i think something really significant happened when the inspector general said that he's not just going to review the secret service investigation of cartagena, he's now going to conduct his own investigation, talked about doing more than 200 interviews. so that's -- >> that's a big change. >> that's a big change. that's significant. >> it is significant.
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when i asked the ig that, it was because i was concerned that all he had been planning to do was a review of the investigation done by the directer. that is clearly not adequate, and in talking to other igs, they were telling me that this should be an independent investigation by the ig. not just a ratification or a review of what the director finds. >> why didn't he do that from the beginning? >> thank you, senates. >> you'd have to ask -- >> i don't know. it's a matter of priority and personnel. it's interesting to me even before we asked the question here, senator collins did, i asked him before the hearing whether he was going to interview any of the 13 agents involved in cartagena because they were clearly a big source of the story in the post this morning, and he said he was.
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and, in fact, he was interviewing two of them today. but, so, but it became today a very public commitment of an independent investigation. when you think about it, i know that director sullivan has every interest -- probably as much as anybody in the world -- in cleaning this up and moving forward, i ultimately -- but ultimately, there's nothing better than an independent investigation by the inspector general in this case as opposed to self-investigation by the agency, secret service, that's been involved. [inaudible conversations] >> the senate's -- [inaudible] >> we're going to stay on it. we're going to continue to go over the information we have. we'll ask for more, and we'll stay very close to the inspector general and his investigation. ultimately, the igs report to our committee. >> thank you. >> thank you, senators. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> welcome to old cow town
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museum, wichita, kansas! >> the city of wichita and trace, of course, waking up the city for 22 years. we think we've got a heck of a start. that's why the mayor comes in every wednesday. today he's going to talking about the problem with taxi cabs. >> june 2nd and 3rd, booktv and american history tv explore the heritage and literary culture of wichita, kansas. >> a rather modest-looking paper wrap binding, but what it contains is an alphabetical list of the members of the senate and house of representatives done in 1831. i believe this was issued only, as it says here, for the members' immediate use only.z not that they had xerox machines, but they were not supposed to loan this out because, as you can see, it would tell you exactly where everybody lived so you could go
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and button hole and punch them if you didn't like them. >> watch for booktv and american history tv in wichita on june 2nd and 3rd on c-span2 and 3. >> health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius spoke last week at an awards ceremony for georgetown grad students in the university's public policy school. her invitation met with criticism from some catholic leaders and anti-abortion groups. the secretary did not address the controversy directly, but she did discuss the history and tension between reapplication and public policy in the -- religion and public policy in the u.s. this is 20 minutes. >> good morning. welcome to the 2012 georgetown public policy institute ceremony. my name's edward montgomery, and i'm the dean of the public policy institute.
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what great -- [cheers and applause] thanks, ma, i appreciate the applause. [laughter] what a great day to be here at georgetown. today we get the opportunity to honor our graduates, to recognize the special accomplishments on the parts of our students, our alumni and our fact -- faculty, and to hear from one of the leading voices in health policy in our country, health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius. [cheers and applause] this day is one that our graduates and their parents, their spouses, their partners and their families have worked hard to get to, and i want to congratulate all of you for your accomplishments. please, let's give them a round of applause. [applause]
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today's commencement marks the end of your education here at georgetown. our distinguished faculty have lectured you, tutored you, mentored you, and some might say hectored you. but you're leaving here with cutting edge tools, a deep appreciation for the complexity and the importance of policy analysis and an ability to not only understand our world, but to make it better. please join me in thanking the faculty, many of whom are with us here today, for their dedication. [applause] the gppi staff always deserves recognition for their help with everything from admissions to advising to career services to our new web page to getting you paid. to today's event. flu they make -- they make gppi
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run. please, join me in thanking them for all their hard work. prison -- [applause] for those of you who don't know, try pie ya comes from the greek word for trophy. it seems fitting in our trophy ceremony to recognize some outstanding members of the gppi community. first, two of our most distinguished students were chosen by their classmates to speak on their behalf as part of the program. i'd like to recognize rachel thomas who will speak on behalf of the masters in public management students. rachel? [applause] and chris schleck who will speak on behalf of the masters of public policy students. [cheers and applause] second, weave year we finish each year we give an award to an
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outstanding member of our community. please join me in congratulating this year's winner, daniel hoople. [applause] finally, 50eud also like to recognize the winner of the 2012 winnington award, barbara sho, this ey. [applause] barbara's a teacher's teacher. she goes above and beyond in her role as a teacher, a mentor and adviser to our students. she has demonstrated that fact that she has won this award about a dozen times now. [laughter] i think we're going to have to rename it the shoney award and give it to somebody else. [laughter] anyway, thank you, barbara, for your dedication and your leadership with our students. but the most important award today goes to the graduates of the 2012 class. today's commencement for them marks a beginning, a new chapter
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in their lives moving forward. their tremendous amount of hard work and dedication which many of you did while also holding full-time or part-time jobs -- [cheers and applause] give yourself a hand, why not? you're earning today's degrees. today as you leave ggpi, remember, you will always be part of the family. it's a family to support you as you move true your career, and it's a family that needs you to help and support the next generation of students along the path just as our alums have helped you. please, come back and visit, continue to be part of our growing community, help us build a school of public moil that we -- public policy that we all can be proud of. and remember with this great day with we celebrate all of your incredible accomplishment, that with them also comes great responsibility. because you have raised your hand. you raised your hand by choosing
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public policy, by wanting to become a policy leader, you have volunteered to help, to lead, to tackle the many problems that we face, to be part of finding the solutions we so desperately need both here at home and around the globe. you are stepping into the public light at a particularly challenging time. it is a time of seemingly limitless demands but very limited resources, a time of strong and try department opinions on -- strident opinions on which is the best way forward. a time where the role of government and the very nature of our obligations to each other are under intense debate. are we simply a election of individuals or members of a community with obligations and responsibilities to each other? we have given you the skills you will need to build successful careers. should you choose, we have also prepared you to make a real difference. you came to us incredibly smart and talented men and women. you leave here today ready to
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understand, confront and even change the world in your image. now more than ever your country and, indeed, the world needs you to engage, to help inform the debate about our future. your generation can end global poverty, eradicate malaria and aids, educate all of our children for success and end the reign of despots and terrorists. but make no mistake, the road ahead will not be easy. history tells us that those who work for change can often be greeted with skepticism, scorn and even abuse. such work in a democracy will move forward only in frustrating fits and starts and come only after long and vigorous debate and sometimes even heated argument. but don't let that deter you from action. for as edmund burke is often credited as saying, all that is
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necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. it's a tall order, but i have every confidence that you are up to the task and that as a result, our greatness lies ahead of us and not just in the past. as your dean, i'm truly impressed with your exceptional talent and drive, your commitment to making the world a better place through public service. whether you're continuing that service in the military, in the inspector general's offices or our federal agencies or or starting fresh at the myriad of other government and nonprofit posts that you leave here to take, you embody the jesuit spirit of georgetown in your commitment and dedication to service to others. we are honored to have played a role in educating and shaping you as you commence your journey of service. congratulations again, class of 2012. [applause]
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today we are very fortunate to have the secretary of the department of health and human services, kathleen sebelius, with us to deliver our 2012 keynote address. a former state legislator and insurance commissioner, she has served two terms as governor of kansas before she was nominated by president obama to lead hhs in 2009. the breadth of her responsibilities in this role is truly difficult to comprehend. she's responsible for providing vital human services to over 300 million americans. no small task. she works every day to improve access to health care or for our nation's children and elderly and to implement the affordable care act. she is responsible for working with doctors and hospitals to put in place policies designed to slow the growth of health care costs in this country. or bend the cost curve, as we policy wonks might say. as a result of this effort, she's leading the charge to stamp out fraud within the health care industry, saving
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programs like medicare funds that they so desperately need. secretary sebelius is also responsible for the nation's emergency health care response during crises and natural disasters including the earthquake in haiti, the gulf oil spill and the tornado in joplin, missouri. last year she was nominated -- she was named the 13th most powerful woman in the world by "forbes" magazine, no doubt because like you, she has a master's in public administration from the university of kansas. [laughter] she has spent a lifetime of public service, and secretary sebelius has truly shaped the future of health care in our country through public policy. please, join me in welcoming the secretary of health and human services, kathleen sebelius. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you. [applause] thank you, thank you.
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[applause] if you think that counts for your exercise for today -- [laughter] it momentum -- doesn't. dean montgomery, members of the faculty, family, friends, graduates, to-be-announced award winners, the student leaders and, again, the graduates, it really is my honor to be with you this morning, and i want to start by saying congratulations. last weekend on mother's day i was at the university of kansas when our younger son received his master's degree, so i know something about the hard work that all of you have been doing and the effort that got you here today. and i also have long and strong ties to this school. i married a georgetown law grad. i'm a hoya mom, the mother of a
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double georgetown graduate. so in my family, hoya comes second only to rock chock jayhawk. [laughter] and i was really delighted to be invited to speak to you, the public policy graduates. having spent my entire life in public service -- [inaudible conversations] i spent my entire life in public service. [laughter] [cheers and applause] and what i know is that you've
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chosen the most challenging, frustrating, exciting, consequential and rewarding career there is. and today i want to just share a few lessons that i learned along the way and, hopefully, they'll be useful as you begin your careers. i started out as an unpaid volunteer. my dad got into politics when i was 5, so for most of my childhood i spent days in the fall putting up yard signs and going door to door. actually, the more accurate term might be forced labor. [laughter] there wasn't a lot of choice in that matter. it was only later that i discovered that lots of families were going to football games and picnics while i was attending political rallies. but what i got from those fall outings and from our conversations around the dinner table was a deep belief in the value of public service. and throughout my career that unwavering belief has carried me to my highest point and gotten
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me through my lowest. i know you graduates share that belief. the if you didn't, you wouldn't be here today. you wouldn't have suffered through regression analysis -- [laughter] you wouldn't have passed up bigger salaries in other fields. so my first hope for you today is that you hold on to that commitment to work for the common good, and if you let that focus guide you, you'll never go off course. now, i learned the second lesson when i came to washington in the late '60s to attend trinity college. those were tumultuous days in our nation's history, and d.c. was right in the middle of it. during my college years, the draft was reinstated, and the government was ramping up the war in vietnam. racial tensions throughout this country that had been smoldering erupted after the assassination of martin luther king jr., and i watched neighborhoods in d.c. including those close to my
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college be burned to the ground. what was striking at that time is how young people were driving that national debate. we had a feeling that not just young people could change the world, but that we had to change the world. robert kennedy used to talk about young people in his speeches, and one of the most famous he made to young south african leaders, and he said the world demands the qualities of youth; not a time in life, but a state of mind, a temper, a will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease. now, as you said about your -- as you set about your careers, you may find yourselves tempted to defer to those who are older or have more experience. and i want to make it clear on behalf of the participants in the audience -- parent bees in the audience, even though we may
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not know who snooki is or why everyone's so angry about her, we do have some wisdom to share. you still need to call your moms. [laughter] yes. [applause] in fact, after the ceremony ends, i hope you all spend a little time thanking your parents, your teachers, your mentors, your friends, your supporters who helped you on this journey to this graduation day. but the truth is, wisdom isn't the only thing that comes with age. growing older canal bring come play -- can also bring complacency and cautiousness. now, i know georgetown hasn't trained you to be on the sidelines. you've studied under leading policymakers. you've proven your skills not just on tests and papers, but through real-world programs like project honduras. so my second piece of advice is, don't wait. go ahead and do it yourself. because if you don't, it might
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never happen. now, i wish i had a clear road map of exactly how to do that, but the truth is career paths are usually only visible looking backwards, like the tracks we make in the snow. i'm a feminist who learned that girls can do anything by attending all girls' schools where we had to do everything. i ended up in kansas because that's where my husband grew up. i began my political career because our part-time legislature was a better fit for me as a mother with then two young children than the 60-hour-a-week job i had. i moved along, i sought out opportunities to learn new schools in new subject areas. i started working in corrections, and later i worked on everything from education to children and family issues to the budget to jobs and economic development to rural challenges. but one of the issues that kept
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coming back was health care. culminating in my current position. and now i have the extraordinary opportunity to help implement historic legislation that's finally, after seven decades of failed debate in the united states, insuring that all americans have access to affordable health coverage. [applause] now, i would have never been here today if i hadn't taken some chances. and for me what stands out is a big risk which was my run for statewide office in kansas of insurance commissioner. now, the indicators weren't promising. the statewide office had never in the history of the state been held by a woman or a democrat. the three previous commissioners had close ties to the insurance industry and had served a combined 50 years. it was 1994 when running for
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office as a democrat was the basic equivalent of wearing a georgetown jersey in the syracuse section at the verizon center. [laughter] but i went for it, and i won. and i ended up not only getting an incredible opportunity to make a difference, but also gaining probably the most invaluable experience for the job i have now. who knew? all of you are going to face similar choices in your careers. it might be taking a more senior position at a much smaller organization. it might be doing the work you do so well but moving abroad to do it. it might be going from running a campaign to becoming a candidate. and when you do encounter those opportunities, i encourage you to take a deep breath and seize them. and don't let your critics or your opponents define who you are or what you do or why you do it. believe in yourself and your
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abilities, and don't be afraid to express those beliefs. that brings me to the final lesson i want to leave with you today which is no matter what path you choose, and you've heard dean montgomery already say this, it's going to be hard. ultimately, public policy is about making difficult choices. and today there are very serious debates underway about the direction of our country. debates about the size and role of government, about america's role as a global economic and military leader, about the moral and economic be imperative of providing health care to all our citizens. people have deeply-held beliefs on all sides of these discussions, and you as public policy leaders will be called on to help move these debates forward. these aren't questions with quick or easy answers. when i was in the junior high, john fit gerald kennedy was -- fitzgerald was running for
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president. i wasn't old enough to vote, but it's really the first national campaign i really remember. some of then-senator kennedy's opponents attacked him for his religion, suggesting that electing the first catholic president would undermine the separation of church and state, a fundamental principle in our unique democracy. now, the fur record over the -- furor grew so loud that senator kennedy chose to deliver a speech about his beliefs just seven weeks before that november election. in his talk to protestant ministers, kennedy talked about his vision of religion in the public square. and he said he believed in an america, and i quote: where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of it officials and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against us all.
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senator kennedy was elected president of the united states on november 8, 1960, and here we are more than 50 years later, and that conversation about the intersection of our nation's long tradition of religious freedom with policy decisions in the public square continues. contributing to these debates will require more than the quantitative skills you've learned at georgetown. it requires the ethical skills you have honed, the ability to weigh different views, to see issues from others' points of view and, in the end, to be true to your own moral compass. these debates can also be con chen white house, but that's -- contentious, but that's a strength of our country, not a weakness. in some countries around the world it's much easier to make public policy. a leader delivers an edict, it goes into effect.
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there's no debate, no press, no criticism, no second guessing. our system is messier, slower, more frustrating and far better. and it almost always ends in compromise. the conversations can be painful, but it's through this process of conversation and compromise that we actually move forward together step by step toward that more perfect group on. -- union. now, looking out on all of you this morning, i feel very optimistic about the future of that union. if you hold on to your idealism, resist complacency, take chances and engage thoughtfully with difficult challenges of our time, you'll succeed. and through you we will succeed. i can't wait to see what you can accomplish. congratulations again, and best of luck. [applause]
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>> today the thicks and public policy center -- ethics and public policy center holds its religious freedom and public policy conference in washington d.c. they will discuss how government policy effects religion. live coverage begins at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> life is incredibly precious, and it passes by poor too quickly. so during your time here, use all of your unique, god-given talents to serve one another as that will be the true measure by which your life will be judged. toll the golden rule. follow the golden rule. >> memorial day weekend, watch commencement speeches on c-span. politicians, white house officials and business leaders share their thoughts with the graduating class of 2012 saturday through tuesday at noon and 10 p.m. eastern. >> president obama was in denver
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yesterday for a campaign fundraiser. in his remarks the president comments on point mitt romney's economic policies. [cheers and applause] today the president will hold campaign events in california and iowa. this is 35 minutes. [cheers and applause] >> thank you! thank you so much. everybody, please have a, have a seat if you've got a seat. [laughter] it is good to be back in denver. [cheers and applause] can everyone, please, give tammy a wonderful round of applause? [cheers and applause] there are some special guests here, you've heard from a bunch of them, i just want to acknowledge them because they are outstanding public servants. first of all, one of the best governors and one of the funniest governors -- [laughter] give it up for john
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hickenlooper. [cheers and applause] one of the finest lieutenant governors and according to hickenlooper -- and he's right -- somebody much cooler than the governor, the lieutenant governor, joe garcia, is here. [cheers and applause] your outstanding mayor, michael hancock's in the house. [cheers and applause] diana degette, great congresswoman, is in the house. [cheers and applause] jared polis is here, and ed ed perlmutter is in the house. [cheers and applause] we've also got national co-chair john register here. [applause] and the former mayor of denver, wellington webb, in the house. [applause] plus all of you are in the house. [cheers and applause] and i can tell you're fired up.
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[cheers and applause] we had some folks to get you fired up. >> ready to go! >> and ready to go. now, si se puede. [cheers and applause] >> i'm here not just because i need your help, although i do need your help. [laughter] >> you got it! >> i'm here, i'm here because the country needs your help. >> yes! >> four years ago we came together to reclaim the basic values that built this country, that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous economy in the world. and we came together because we believe that in america your success shouldn't be determined by the circumstances of your birth. if you're willing to work hard, you should be able to find a good job. if you're willing to meet your responsibilities, you should be able to own a home, maybe start a business be, give your kids a
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chance to do better than you did no matter who you are, no matter where you came from, no matter what you look like, no matter who you love. [cheers and applause] and the reason we came together in 2008, it wasn't, this wasn't about me. this was about us. we believed that the country was straying from these basic values. we had a record surplus that had been squandered on tax cuts for people who didn't need 'em and weren't even asking for 'em, two wars being waged on a credit card -- [laughter] washington speculators were reaping huge profits by making bets with other people's money, manufacturing was leaving our shores. so a shrinking number of
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americans were doing fantastically well while the vast majority, a growing number, were struggling to get by. falling incomes, rising costs, the slowest job growth in a century. that's what we were confronting. and it was all a house of cards that collapsed in the most destructive crisis since the great depression. and just to give people a sense of perspective, in the last six months of 2008 even while we were campaigning nearly three million of our neighbors lost their jobs, 800,000 lost their jobs the month i was sworn into office. so it was tough. but the good news is, americans proved to be tougher. we don't quit. we keep on going.
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and together we began to fight our way back. there were those who said we should let detroit go bankrupt, but we made a bet on the american worker, on the ingenuity of american companies. and now the auto industry is back on top of the world, and manufacturing is starting to -- [inaudible] [cheers and applause] we've seen american manufacturing adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. business got back to basics. on the way over, the governor and a couple of the congressmen and i were talking about small businesses and all those folks who were taking a chance, maybe they failed the first time, maybe even the second time. and then during this recession they were doing everything they had, maybe sometimes not taking
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any money out of the business themselves so they could keep their workers who depended on those jobs on the job. it's because of folks like that that we've created over four million jobs in the last 26 months. more than one million of those in the last six months alone. [cheers and applause] now, we're not satisfied. we're not satisfied when so many of our friends and family are still looking for work. we're not satisfied when neighbors have homes underwater. we're not satisfied when there are young people who are still looking for opportunity, states are still facing severe budget crunches, teachers are still being laid off, first responders. a crisis this deep will not be solved overnight.
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anybody who says it will aren't telling you the truth. we've got more work to do. and we know that. but we also know that the last thing we can afford to do after we've started to make progress, as we're starting to turn the corner is a return to the policies, the very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place. be not now! not with so much at stake. we have come too far to abandon be the change that we fought for over these past years. we're not going to make it happen. [cheers and applause] we have to move forward to the future we imagined in 2008. where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody's doing their fair share, everybody's playing by the same set of ru

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